Liverpool will have to pay £70m for Keita 


Liverpool’s hopes of landing Red Bull Leipzig midfield engine Naby Keita have taken another potential hit after the Bundesliga club’s enormous asking price for the Guinean international was reported in the German media.

Liverpool were already facing an uphill battle to land prime target Keita after UEFA ruled Leipzig would be allowed to compete in the Champions League next season, despite Red Bull Salzburg also being involved in the competition. Keita had previously spoken about his desire to play in the Champions League with Leipzig, but it was briefly thought that it would give him an incentive to join Liverpool if the German side were demoted to the Europa League.

The Reds would most likely have had to break their transfer record for Keita anyway, with rumours that he would cost close to €60m. But, according to Bild, Leipzig’s asking price is now even higher.

It is said that sporting director Ralf Rangnick won’t sanction a sale for anything less than €80m, equating to £70m and double Liverpool’s current club record.

While the Reds were thought to be willing to pay £50m for Keita, and between £50m and £60m for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk before being made to give up the chase, it remains to be seen whether Anfield owners FSG would stump up the huge £70m fee.

The Reds could alternatively move for unsettled Arsenal star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has often played a central midfield role in the past despite starting out as a winger, and who would come at the much more affordable price of £25m-£30m.

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